Thursday, December 23, 2010

Calm Before the Storm

Villanova had a nice two game breather in-between Big 5 games and before the start of the Big East schedule. The opponents were Delaware and Monmouth, and Nova won the games by a combined 59 points. The final game of 2010 will be against Temple, then Nova opens the new year and Big East season against Rutgers.
  • Fisher Price delivered some early Christmas presents. He had back-to-back games with at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.
  • Maalik Wayns has gotten back on track from downtown, hitting 3 of 7 triples in his past two games, after shooting 0 for 11 in the previous four.
  • Corey Stokes, on the other hand, has been on track from downtown all year long. Stokes drained five 3-pointers in a game for the third time this season against Monmouth, en route to 19 points.
  • Following his recovery from injury, James Bell has had to play himself into game shape, and it looks like he is just about there. He scored 10 points against Delaware, then played a season-high 21 minutes against Monmouth. Now he just needs to hit a game-winning buzzer-beater so I can use the headline “Saved by the Bell”.
  • Dallas Ouano recorded his first personal stat of his career; one steal against Monmouth. (We’ll ignore the turnover.)
  • Monmouth’s individual scoring in the game against the Wildcats went as follows: 0, 0, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. By that pattern, Monmouth would have needed just four more players to beat Villanova.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Hawk, the Quaker, and the Explorer are Dead

Villanova finished up a three-game sweep against Big 5 schools, including St. Joe’s (71-60), Penn (65-53), and La Salle (84-81). All three opponents proved to be tougher adversaries than expected, especially the scrappy Explorers, who nearly pulled off the upset at the intimate Tom Gola Arena. The only Big 5 opponent remaining on the schedule is Temple, who beat the Wildcats for the city crown last season. The Owls already knocked off Georgetown this year (68-65), prompting a dubious court rushing by their fans.

Villanova’s talented back court is renowned around the country, but the new dynamic duo in the front court has been vital to the team’s recent success. Antonio Pena and Mouphtaou Yarou are like a modern version of San Antonio’s “Twin Towers”, David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Neither Wildcat is a 7-footer, but fifth-year senior Pena is a wily veteran like the Admiral, while Yarou is a young big man oozing with potential, just like a young Duncan. Pena’s been dominant over his last four games, averaging 14 points and 9 rebounds. Mouph is already averaging close to a double-double on the season at 8.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, and he will only get better from here. The Spurs’ Twin Towers won two championships together, which is impossible for Nova’s duo to duplicate since Pena is a senior, but I’d settle for “just one”.

Corey Stokes, coming off a career-high 34 points against Penn, is having an Allan Ray-esque offensive season. His numbers are up across the board, averaging 16 points per game, shooting 47% from the field, lighting it up from downtown at 41.8%, and Stokes is virtually automatic from the charity stripe at 95.7%. He can guard multiple positions at 6-foot-5, and Jay Wright has praised Stokes as one of his best defenders. The Bayonne Bomber has come a long way since arriving on campus as a one-trick pony 3-point specialist.

Dominic Cheek has turned into a real spark-plug off the bench for Villanova. Ironically, his worst game, when he scored just four points, came in his lone start of the season, versus Penn. Cheek dropped 14 points against both St. Joe’s and La Salle, and he’s turning into a legitimate threat from behind the arc. He sank four 3-pointers vs. the Explorers, which is valuable because as teams play more zone defense, Nova needs more reliable shooters to pair on the perimeter with Stokes.

Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns’ 3-point accuracy should improve, but thus far they’ve been dreadful at 22% and 14.7% respectively. Both seem to be trying to shoot their way out of their slumps, as Fisher is attempting 4.6 threes per game, and Wayns, 3.8. Fisher has proven he can consistently drain the collegiate 3-pointer, shooting 39.6% last season, so I encourage him to continue taking the open shots. Wayns, on the other hand, should stick to driving to the basket because he’s shooting a much better 63% on 2-pointers.

Other notes:

- There are seven Big East teams currently ranked in the top 25, and this was supposed to be a “down year” for the Big East. I know it’s early, but there are four teams still undefeated and four more with just one loss. They’ll start beating up on each other soon enough.

- JayVaughn Pinkston was suspended for the entire season. That seems fair; he made a mistake and is serving his punishment. Now, the rest of the team can focus on this season, and not have to worry about any distractions surrounding Pinkston’s situation.

- LeBron James’ return to Cleveland garnered a lot of national attention, and he answered with an impressive 38 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists. Kyle Lowry’s return to Memphis wasn’t as ballyhooed, but he had an equally impressive 28 points, 3 rebounds, and 12 assists. (11-15 FG, 4-5 3PT, 2-2 FT) Lowry is flourishing while Aaron Brooks is sidelined with an injury, averaging about 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 8 assists as a starter for Houston. Brooks should be returning shortly, unless there's some kind of Tonya Harding incident.

- Randy Foye has played in just seven games this season for the LA Clippers. You can’t say I didn’t warn you. Then again, if his second year with the Clips is anything like Blake Griffin’s, Foye could be in store for big year in 2012… assuming the world doesn’t end.

- Dante Cunningham doesn’t wow you with his stats (4 pts, 3 reb, 0.5 blk), but he is quietly turning into a solid professional basketball player up in Portland. He is playing about 17 minutes every night, and Coach Nate McMillan gives him that time off the bench because he plays hard all the time.

- Scottie Reynolds is averaging 18 points and 4.6 assists for the Springfield Armor in the NBA D-League. Scottie has to be an upgrade over a some of the current back-up point guards in the NBA. Come on GM’s, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NIT: Nova Impeded by Tennessee

The perfect season is over. Villanova suffered it’s first lost of 2010-2011 to Tennessee in the final of the NIT Season Tip-off. At least my pre-season picks are still perfect… and my prediction of Kemba Walker for Big East Player of the Year isn’t looking too bad either. In the 78-68 loss to Tennessee, the dynamic backcourt duo of Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns shot a combined 0-8 from 3-point range, and they weren’t a whole lot better from inside the arc. As a result, Villanova fell out of the top ten in the polls for the first time this year. So is it time to panic? The short answer is no.

The 82-70 victory over UCLA in the game prior is a win that sounds better than it actually is. UCLA is one of the most prestigious programs in college basketball history, but their perceived value is higher than their actual value; eleven National Championships tend to do that. Ben Howland’s club is still in rebuilding mode after losing a slew of talented players early to the NBA; Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Jrue Holiday, to name a few. I wasn’t overly impressed with anyone on the Bruins, other than Reeves “Two-Face” Nelson, who put up a double-double on Nova. He had 10 points and 13 rebounds, one for each tattoo on his left arm.

Tennessee, on the other hand, looks like a contender, assuming they don’t fall apart during Bruce Pearl’s suspension. They played one of the best defensive games I’ve seen in a while. Villanova may be famous for their point guards, but Tennessee is becoming famous for their long athletic guards. Scotty Hopson (6’7) and Cameron Tatum (6’6) gave the smaller Fisher and Wayns fits on defense, getting in their faces for jump shots and clogging the lane to prevent them from driving to the basket. Perhaps Hopson was trying to capture some of Alonzo Mourning’s defensive prowess with his throwback 1990’s flat-top hair style. Maybe the Vols should have Bruce’s son, Steven Pearl, take over as player-coach during his father’s suspension. I’ve never heard such praise from the announcers during a telecast for a player who only scored two points. Then again I don't watch Indiana Pacers games, so I'm probably missing out on the Tyler Hansborough hyperbole.

The biggest positive to take away from the pre-season NIT is the continued improvement of Mouphtaou Yarou, who was the lone Wildcat named to the All-Tournament Team. Mouph had back-to-back double-doubles against Lafayette (12 and 12) and UCLA (13 and 16), then followed that up with 15 points and 5 rebounds against Tennessee. He seems to get better and better in each game, which means that by the time Nova returns to Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament, Mouph will be putting up Kevin Love-esque 30-30 games. Or so we hope.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Tweets 2010

This is an updated version of last year's post.

I searched across the far-reaches of the interweb and Twitterland to find out what everybody in the Nova basketball community is thankful for this Thanksgiving.*

Klow7: @AaronBrooks Thanks for faking that injury so I can start.

randyfoye: I'm thankful that I have a front-row seat to watch the Blake Griffin Show.

Dante33: Thank God I don't have the injury luck of @Greg_Oden.

TimThomas: @sportsguy33 Thanks for the kind words and support from your columns.

SReynolds1: @Italy Thanks, but no thanks...

MouphTheProof: @JamesNaismith Thanks for inventing a game that can take me from Africa to America.

BringThePena: Thanks to Strength Coach Lon Record for continuing to make me even more of a beast this year.

FisherPrice: Thanks to all the NYC streetballers who taught me my moves. (All 105 of you...)

DomCheek: @CoachBobHurley Thanks for helping me get to Villanova.

Stokes24: Thanks to my bro for making these songs.

MoSutton: Thanks to my family for giving me good basketball genes and a 6'11 frame.

iArm34: Thanks @KDthunderup for the high school memories.

WaynsWorld: @jameernelson, @Klow7 Thanks for teaching me how to play like a Philly guard, and @FisherPrice and @SReynolds1 for teaching me how to play like a Villanova guard.

WootenForNova: Thanks for a blow-out @Lafayette so I could get onto the stat sheet with one rebound.

JVPinkston: Thanks to my coaches, my teammates, and all of Nova Nation for supporting me through this tough time.

DOuano4: Thank you student section for going wild anytime I touch the ball.

JayWright: @RollieMass Thank you for teaching me everything I know.

*By searching across the interweb, I meant completely make this up myself.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's Wayns' World, We're Just Living In It

Villanova is already three games into the 2010-2011 season, and not surprisingly, the Cats are undefeated following wins over Bucknell (68-52), Marist (84-47), and Boston University (82-66). What is surprising is the superb play of sophomore guard Maalik Wayns. Everyone was expecting Wayns to take a leap in production in his second year, but this has been a Grand Canyon sized leap. Maalik’s been the best player on the floor for the Wildcats, which is really saying something considering his backcourt-mate is a preseason top 50 candidate for the Wooden Award, Corey Fisher. Fisher hasn’t scored 105 points yet, but it’s not like he has been disappointing either. After all, Fisher Price is leading the team in scoring at 16.7 points per game.

In the words of Yoda, speaking about Rajon Rondo, “Scoring a great point guard does not make.” Don’t get me wrong, Wayns does plenty of scoring too, averaging a team second-best 14.7 points per game, but it’s his assists (7.3 per game) and rebounding (5.7 per game) that have been most impressive. Wayns looks like a legitimate threat to record Nova’s first triple-double since Jason Fraser’s 22 points, 15 rebounds, 11 broken bones game in 2003. Most recently, Wayns put up a Rondoian stat line of 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 12 assists against BU. Yet unlike Rondo, Wayns can actually shoot too. In three games, Wayns has already made double the amount of 3-pointers (4) that Rondo has made in 11 games this season (2).

It’s not all about statistics, however; just ask the Baseball Writers Association of America. Maalik Wayns has an uncanny ability to control the game with his speed. I’ve never seen a player fly by defenders with such ease, while driving coast to coast for a lay-up. It's natural to want to compare this great Villanova point guard from Philly to the last great Villanova point guard from Philly, Kyle Lowry. Lowry relentlessly went at bigger defenders trying to draw contact when driving to the basket, but Wayns is so fast that he drives past defenders to get to the basket for uncontested lay-ups. Because of his speed, passing, and shooting, Wayns’ game most resembles Ty Lawson of the Denver Nuggets, who just so happens to have an NCAA Championship to his name.

In addition to the dynamic backcourt duo of Fisher and Wayns, the rest of the Wildcats supporting cast has looked good as well. The seniors are doing what we expected of them; Corey Stokes (10.3 ppg) is draining open threes (6 of 18 so far) and Antonio Pena is scoring (10 ppg) and rebounding (7 rpg) in the post. Mouphtaou Yarou still looks raw, but he’s been able to simply overpower smaller opponents with his size, strength, and athleticism, to the tune of 8.3 points, 6 rebounds, and almost 2 blocks per game. The real test will come next week when Nova faces UCLA in the semifinals of the NIT. Dominic Cheek (9 ppg) just might be the Big East Sixth Man of the Year. Cheek scored 15 points off the bench against Marist, and he has displayed a drastically improved jump shot (.444 3P%) so far this season. Maurice Sutton had a monster game against Marist (13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks), but it’s more realistic to expect something closer to the 2 points and 3 rebounds he averaged in the other two games. Sutton had similarly strong games against the smaller mid-major teams early last season, but his production later tailed off during Big East play. Isaiah Armwood’s opportunities are limited (2.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg), but Wayns and Fisher have set him up for some open dunks under the basket, and Armwood knows how to finish strong. With Pinkston sidelined, the team only goes eight deep right now, which is actually a more suitable rotation size than the eleven man carousel of players Jay Wright had to juggle last season. Although, now it is more crucial that these top eight stay healthy all season, and if they do, this team can really go places.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I Immediately Regret This Decision

Villanova freshman JayVaughn Pinkston has been charged with two counts of simple assault and harassment after a fight at a frat party last weekend. Pinkston will be still practice with the team, but he will be sitting out of games for now, while the school reviews the case. This is terrible news for both JayVaughn and the school, and hopefully it's just an isolated incident of immaturity, and he learns from his mistake. Anyway, let's take a look at the reports "Fire Joe Morgan style" to try to make sense of the situation.

"As a result of the fight, which broke out about 3:30 a.m..."
There's his first mistake. Everybody knows nothing good happens at 3:30 in the morning.

"Pinkston was charged by Upper Merion Township Police Thursday for his part in a fracas at the Sigma Phi Epsilon House."
Well, James Naismith was a former "SigEp", so I'll give Pinkston the benefit of the doubt and assume he was there to brush up on his basketball history. Plus how bad can a "fracas" be?

""[He] started bleeding a lot. It turned into a whole brawl. . . . Someone hit [the second frat brother] and he went unconscious."
Okay, apparently a fracas is pretty bad, but surely there was a good reason why Pinkston became so angry.

"Pinkston was locked inside a room with a female..."
Still searching for a reason to be angry...

Pinkston "
had to break down the door to escape."
Now he sounds like an action movie star. Though I'm still not sure why he was in such a rush to get out of there.

"...he was locked inside of the house's laundry room..."
Okay, say no more. Frat house... dirty laundry... Being locked in with that smell is enough to drive any man to violence.

"Pinkston and his friends were waiting for a ride outside the house."
Good idea JayVaughn. It was a stupid college frat boy prank. Just forget it and get out of there.

""[The first frat brother] was taunting him [about the laundry room], said it was disrespectful and then Jayvaughn turned around and punched [him] in the face," the witness said... The co-ed said that Pinkston was provoked by the jealous fraternity brother."
Come on, this frat boy kind of had it coming. However, because Pinkston is a big college basketball star, an incident like this is going to draw national news attention. If Pinkston was a regular student, maybe a fight like this is dismissed as drunk college kids acting stupid, and both parties forget about it. Fair or not, student-athletes like Pinkston live under a microscope, and they have to realize that their actions have consequences.

"Police said a man was taken to Bryn Mawr Hospital, and that an assault report had been filed."
Then there's also the fact that JayVaughn is 6-foot-7 and a former boxer. If he hits someone, they're going down.

"I think I came here with some toughness," says Pinkston"
You can say that again.

""Before I played basketball," he says, "I used to box." For a period of four years, between the ages of seven and 11, Pinkston dabbled in competitive boxing in junior Golden Gloves tournaments. Even at that point in his life, he was gifted with a dose of size and power. In particular, he recalls his first match just before he turned eight years of age. "I knocked a kid out," he recalls."

Yeah... apparently that frat brother missed this Nova Notebook article last month.

"I'll watch (boxing) once in a blue," he says, "but not much more than that."
Local weather reports indicate the moon was Villanova blue that night.

"Jay Wright added,JayVaughn is very aware of the seriousness of this matter and how it could impact the team. He understands there is a great lesson to be learned here.”"
Let's hope he learned his lesson and can get back on the court as soon as possible. After all, JayVaughn is still just an 18 year-old kid, and we've all made our share of mistakes as teenagers.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Look Into the Crystal Ball: 2010-11

The 2010-2010 season is only a couple weeks away, so I thought I'd take a look into my crystal ball to see how the team will do. Not to toot my own horn, but I came pretty close last year. Okay, maybe I did want to toot my own horn.

11/02/10 vs. District of Columbia (Exhibition) - Win, because Nova doesn’t want to become a laughing stock by losing an exhibition game like Syracuse last year.

11/12/10 vs. Bucknell - Win, because Jay Wright won’t let his alma mater beat him in the official season opener. (1-0)

11/16/10 vs. Marist (NIT) - Win, because it’s Marist. (2-0)

11/17-11/26 NIT Season Tip-Off vs. TBA - Nova wins the next two games (vs. George Washington and UCLA), then they lose in the finals of the NIT to Tennessee, because Bruce Pearl will cheat. (4-1)

11/20/10 vs. Lafayette - Win, because losing to Lafayette in a real game might be more embarrassing than losing to DC in an exhibition. (5-1)

12/03/10 vs. St. Joseph’s - Win, because playing St. Joe’s this early in the season won’t give Hawks fans enough time to disillusion themselves into thinking they have a chance. (6-1)

12/08/10 at Penn - Win, because Penn seems to be under the crazy impression that academics are more important than basketball. (7-1)

12/12/10 at LaSalle - Win, because Mouph Yarou is going to own Aaric Murray. (8-1)

12/18/10 vs. Delaware - Win, because the Blue Hens just don’t sound very intimidating. (9-1)

12/22/10 at Monmouth NJ - Win, because the creator of MTV’s Jersey Shore is a Monmouth Alum. (10-1)

12/30/10 vs. Temple - Win, because someone will actually guard Juan Fernandez this year. (11-1)

01/02/11 vs. Rutgers - Win, because two of their best players transferred and their coach was fired. (12-1)

01/06/11 at USF - Win, because Dominique Jones isn’t around to score 46 points anymore. (13-1)

01/09/11 vs. Cincinnati - Win, because by January, Lance Stephenson will be playing in the D-League. (14-1)

01/12/11 vs. Louisville - Win, because Samardo Samuels is gone. (15-1)

01/15/11 vs. Maryland - Win, because Greivis Vasquez is gone. (16-1)

01/17/11 at UConn - Loss, because Kemba Walker will be the Big East Player of the Year. (16-2)

01/22/12 at Syracuse - Loss, because of the Dome. (16-3)

01/26/11 at Providence - Win, because the Friars have nine freshmen. (17-3)

01/29/11 vs. Georgetown - Win, because Fisher and Stokes will outplay Wright and Freeman. (18-3)

02/02/11 vs. Marquette - Loss, because the Golden Eagles are always underrated. (18-4)

02/05/11 vs. West Virginia - Win, because it’s not at the Coliseum. (19-4)

02/09/11 at Rutgers - Win, because home-court advantage doesn’t make up for the reasons listed for the first game. (20-4)

02/12/11 vs. Pitt - Win, because the Pavilion will be rocking all day with the ESPN College GameDay crew there. (21-4)

02/15/11 at Seton Hall - Loss, because Jeremy Hazell will get hot and score 40 points. (21-5)

02/19/11 at DePaul - Win, because the Blue Demons ended last season on a 13-game losing streak. (22-5)

02/21/11 vs. Syracuse - Win, because they won’t have the Dome advantage in the rematch. (23-5)

02/26/11 vs. St. John’s - Win, because Steve Lavin needs a year or two to rebuild. (24-5)

02/28/11 at Notre Dame - Win, because no Irish fans will show up when they realize Harangody and Reynolds aren’t playing. (25-5)

03/05/11 at Pitt - Loss, because the Panthers will take the rematch at home. (25-6)

03/08-03/12 Big East Tournament - After splitting the regular season series, the consensus top two teams in the Big East, Pitt and Nova, will meet in the Championship. Pitt will win, just because they always seem to take the Big East Tournament more seriously.

03/14-04/04 NCAA Tournament - However, Nova will advance further in the NCAA Tournament. My final prediction: a #2-seed and lose in the Elite Eight.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Your 2010-2011 Villanova Wildcats

For the first time in what seems like a decade, Scottie Reynolds will NOT be returning to play basketball for the Villanova Wildcats this season; therefore, in many ways, this marks the beginning of a new era for Jay Wright’s team. Reynolds has been the face of the program for the past four years, and it is unknown who will step up to fill his shoes. (Hopefully it's someone with the same foot size.) Nevertheless, Nova is returning a strong a team this season, so let’s begin by taking a look at the presumed leaders of the team, the class of 2011.

The Seniors

Antonio Pena
2009-10 Stats: 10.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks, 57.7 FG%, 69.6 FT%, 24.9 minutes per game
2009-10 Season Highs: 19 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists

Pena takes the term “senior” to a whole new level. He’s the same age as me, and I’ve been out of school for three years now. ‘Tone spent two years in prep school then redshirted his first year at Nova, which accounts for why he’s still around at the ripe old age of 24. Pena was a bit inconsistent last season, at times looking like a double-double machine, then completely disappearing in other games. He should have a huge advantage this year, especially in the strength department, playing against kids six years younger than him. Let’s just hope he’s able to stay awake for the late 9 p.m. games.

Corey Fisher
2009-2010 Stats: 13.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 44.7 FG%, 39.6 3P%, 77.0 FT%, 27.0 minutes per game
2009-10 Season Highs: 24 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists

Fisher is the odds-on favorite to replace Scottie Reynolds as the leader of this year’s team. He’s spent the past three years playing in Reynolds’ shadow, deferring to the his heralded backcourt-mate, yet never complaining about his role. I was already excited to see what Fisher could do when he was set free and handed the keys to the offense… then I heard about the 105 points he scored in a summer league game, and now I’m ecstatic. I think we are going to see Fisher Price do some special things this season, maybe not score triple digits again, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of Scottie Reynolds signature 40-point specials.

Corey Stokes
2009-10 Stats: 9.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.4 blocks, 41.6 FG%, 38.3 3P%, 87.3 FT%, 26.0 minutes per game
2009-10 Season Highs: 22 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists

The “other” Corey has settled in nicely to his role of a 3-point sharpshooting specialist who plays defense and rebounds. Don’t expect him to handle to the ball or drive to the basket with grace, but he will play hard and drain threes from just about anywhere on the court. With the losses of Reynolds and Taylor King, Stokes is the only reliable 3-point threat Nova has left, unless you count 50% 3-point shooter Isaiah Armwood. (He was 1-for-2.)

The Sophomores
The ceiling of this year’s team really depends on these next five players. There are three seniors on the team, and for the most part you know what you’re going to get from them. However, there are zero juniors on the team (aside from walk-ons), so one or more of these second year players will need to take a big leap in production this season for the Wildcats to have success.

Isaiah Armwood
2009-10 Stats: 2.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.4 blocks, 0.4 steals, 47.2 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 60.0 FT%, 11.0 minutes per game
2009-10 Season Highs: 9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists

Last season Armwood proved he has the athleticism to play at this level, Jay Wright learned that firsthand as Hoops Mania, but he still needs to improve his overall game. His biggest problem is that his arms look like their made out of wood, so he will have to get stronger if Jay Wright wants to play him at power forward in the Big East this season.

Dominic Cheek
2009-10 Stats: 4.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.4 steals, 45.3 FG%, 31.0 3P%, 65.4 FT%, 13.5 minutes per game
2009-10 Season Highs: 17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists

Cheek arrived on campus with a lot of hype as a McDonald’s All-American, but his playing time was limited last season. He has a polished game on both ends of the floor and should be ready to take on a bigger role this season. Cheek’s best game last season came in a return to his native New Jersey when he scored 17 points in a win over Rutgers. Wait, I forgot to throw in a joke. Hmm… Okay. What has two cheeks and smells like shit? … Hey, get your mind out of the gutter! It’s Dominic Cheek’s mouth after a game when he forgot to brush his teeth.

Maurice Sutton
2009-10 Stats: 1.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.1 assists, 0.2 steals, 1.0 blocks, 41.5 FG%, 54.5 FT%, 10.3 minutes per game
2009-10 Season Highs: 7 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists

Mo is probably the best shot-blocker the team has had since Jason Fraser. He had a season-high five swats against La Salle and four against Robert Morris in the NCAA Tournament. He’s not the best rebounder for his size (6’11) and his offensive game is almost nonexistent, but he can still improve in those areas. Like Armwood, Sutton needs to get on the Jersey Shore routine of GTL to bulk up, although they could probably skip the tanning part.

Maalik Wayns
2009-10 Stats: 6.8 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.6 steals, 43.4 FG%, 31.5 3P%, 81.4 FT%, 15.0 minutes per game
2009-10 Season Highs: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists

The “Next Great Philly Point Guard”, Wayns, had his ups and downs last season, en route to making the Big East All-Rookie Team. He was an offensive spark off the bench in some games, scoring in double figures nine times, but in another nine games, he was held to under 11 minutes of playing time. With Reynolds’ departure, we will see a lot more of Wayns’ World this season, which is most excellent. Party on, Wayns!

Mouphtaou Yarou
2009-10 Stats: 4.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.2 steals, 1.0 blocks, 58.3 FG%, 70.6 FT%, 15.0 minutes per game
2009-10 Season Highs: 17 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists

Mouph could be the biggest x-factor for this year’s team, but unfortunately he is probably also the biggest question mark. The grade for his freshmen year was an incomplete. He missed eleven games towards the beginning of the year due to hepatitis B, then he had to learn on the fly as he played himself back into game shape later in the year. Not to mention, he’s only been playing the sport of basketball for about six years. If you’re wondering why Nova fans are still drooling over Mouph’s potential, look no further than the stat line from his game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament versus Robert Morris: 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 5-6 FG, 7-7 FT. Me: Please God, keep Mouphtaou Yarou healthy for the next three years. God: Which Mouphtaou Yarou? Me: Really?

The Freshmen

James Bell
Bell is a super-athletic 6’5 guard from Orlando, Florida. Unfortunately, he won’t be bringing any magic to this kingdom for quite some time as he recovers from surgery to repair stress fractures in his legs. It is unknown if he will be able to play at all this season.

JayVaughn Pinkston
Pinkston is a 6’7 forward from Bishop Loughlin in Brooklyn, the same high school Curtis Sumpter attended. Last year’s New York Player of the Year is pretty much a Sumpter clone: same size, good rebounder, can score inside and also step back to make threes. Hopefully the Sumpter similarities end there and don’t include his injury history. With Pena, Pinkston, and the emergence of Armwood and Yarou, Villanova might actually have a deep and talented front court for the first time during Jay Wright’s tenure... unless I just jinxed it... Dagnabbit!

The Walk-ons

Russell Wooten
Woot is staying at Villanova as a graduate student this year, but he won’t be letting that stop him from using up his NCAA eligibility and suiting up for Jay Wright (not that kind of suit) another year. He seems to have his collegiate priorities straight: 1) Basketball, 2) Girls, 3) Academics.

Dallas Ouano
The newest walk-on hasn’t even played in a game yet, and he’s already gotten more press on ESPN than Jason Colenda did over four years at Nova.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

10 Reasons Playing in Italy is Good for Scottie Reynolds

Scottie Reynolds has decided to take his talents to Italy, and surprisingly, he didn’t need a one-hour special on ESPN to announce it. After going undrafted, Reynolds had a good showing with the Suns in the NBA Summer League, despite not being fully healthy at the time. Scottie averaged 10 points and 5 assists over three games, scoring 16 in his first game and dishing out 9 dimes in his second game. Reynolds was invited to training camp to try to earn a spot on the team, but he and his agents jumped at an offer to play for Prima Veroli of the Italian League Second Division. (The team name is being incorrectly reported as “Prima Verdi” by the US media. Someone with poor eyesight must have mistaken the “ol” for a “d”.) It’s not the dream destination for an AP First Team All-American, but this might not be a bad thing for Reynolds and the Villanova basketball program for the following reasons:

1. C.R.E.A.M.
In the words of the Wu-Tang Clan, "Cash rules everything around me." Lee Melchioni, one of Reynolds’ agents, said, "The offer is something that blew us out of the water." I don’t know the exact figures, but Scottie is presumably making a lot more than the minimum non-guaranteed contracts that are usually offered to undrafted free agents in the NBA.

2. Fine Food and Wine

Scottie will be on a steady diet of some of the world’s best pizza, pasta, and fine wine… On second thought, maybe that’s not the healthiest choice for a professional athlete.

3. Follow the Brandon Jennings Model

Sure, it’s a completely different situation, but Jennings did make the successful transition from Italy to the NBA. Jennings went from averaging 5.5 points per game in Italy, to averaging 15.5 in the NBA, scoring 55 points in one game, and making the All-Rookie First Team. Despite Jennings’ hype and talent, he still couldn’t average more than 15 minutes a game for Lottomatica Roma, which attests to the high-caliber of play in Italy as well as their disdain for entitled Americans. So Scottie will need to play hard and earn the respect of his Italian coaches and teammates.

4. Beautiful Women and Beautiful Beaches
Hmm… maybe I’ll follow Scottie to Italy and start blogging about Prima Veroli.

5. The World's Game

If basketball doesn’t work out, Scottie can take up Italy’s most popular sport, soccer. I could see him heading in some goals as a striker. Or he could just become of a fan of AC Milan, as long as he brings a gas mask to the games.

6. EuroTrip!

With Reggie Redding playing in Cyprus, he and Scottie can now recreate the plot of EuroTrip and backpack across Europe together, blasting the song “Scotty Doesn’t Know” along the way. Just be careful that the trip doesn’t suddenly turn into the movie Hostel.

7. The History

There’s the leaning tower of Pisa in Tuscany, the Colosseum in Rome, the gondolas in Venice, and the Vatican. Plus there's plenty of churches and cathedrals, so Scottie won't have to worry about being late for Sunday afternoon games.

8. Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello
I’m talking about the famous artists, although it would be pretty cool if the Ninja Turtles were hiding out somewhere in the hills of Tuscany. Scottie can see firsthand the Sistine Chapel, the statue of David, and many other masterpieces located in the art museums of Italy.

9. Family Reunion

Two other prominent members of the Villanova basketball family currently play in Italy, Allan Ray and Mike Nardi. Scottie will be competing against his former backcourt mate from 2006-07, as Nardi plays for Nuova Pallacanestro Pavia in the same league. A-Ray plays in the top division, however, and after sitting out the 2009–10 season to recover from knee surgery, he has signed with Sutor Montegranaro for the 2010-11 season.

10. Clooney Knows Best

If superstar actor and Jay Wright doppelganger George Clooney owns a villa on Lake Como in Lombardy, you know Italy is the place to be.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Farewell to King

After initially deciding to leave the basketball team but stay at the University, Taylor King has announced his intentions to leave Villanova for good and transfer to USC. Rather than speculating on why King has left two different prestigious institutions (Villanova and Mater Dei High School) and Duke on equivocal terms, let’s search deep within the archives of Nova News to take a look back at the highlights of TK’s short stint as a Wildcat.

April 2008 - King announces he will transfer from Duke to Villanova, stating, “It just couldn't be a better fit for me... I asked blunt questions, but I wanted everything they offered. They la
id down their game plan for me and I couldn't resist.”

March 2009 - King was forced to sit out the entire 2008-2009 season after transferring, and he could not travel with the team, but that didn’t stop him from paying his own way to Boston and cheering on his teammates from the stands as they beat his former team, Duke, and then Pitt, to advance to the Final Four.

November 16, 2009 - After his debut against Farliegh Dickinson...
“We knew he could shoot the ball, but King really impressed me with his rebounding (7) and tenacity. He actually reminded me of Dwayne Anderson, which is a pleasant surprise.”

November 17, 2009 - After only his second game with Villanova, I was firmly on the Taylor King bandwagon.
“Taylor King - Plays like a madman... I love it. He grabbed three rebounds in less than a minute after entering the game, then drained a three. He also made the Dwayne Anderson signature dive from behind steal. 14 points and 7 rebounds in the game... you can can see he's already turning into a crowd favorite.”

November 23, 2009 - He was able to laugh it off afterwards since Nova won the game, but this is a nominee for King’s most embarrassing moment as a Wildcat. (There’s more).
“Yes, Taylor King actually did airball a free throw. His 3-point shooting (0-4) was off also, but he brings a lot more to the game than just shooting. He had 9 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, an assist, and he could have had a double-double if he made that free throw. He also showed off his hops with a nice one-handed slam.”

December 3, 2009 - King dazzled the Pavilion crowd in a win over Drexel, but had some harsh words for the fans after the game.
“Taylor King had a big game off the bench with 16 points and 5 rebounds. He was feeling it from downtown, hitting 4 threes. He also had another Dwayne-Anderson-signature-dive-from-behind-steal, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Although, he made a curious statement after the game: "I heard the crowd a little bit and I like that. I don't feed off the crowd, though. I hear them but I am only playing for my coaches and teammates." I'd like to think he is playing for his fellow students and the fans as well.”

December 10, 2009 - This might have been King’s best game and proudest moment at Villanova, although it also involved the second nominee for most embarrassing moment.
“Taylor King delivered the dagger to kill the Hawk with a deep 3-pointer at the 1:31 mark, to put Villanova up by seven… Taylor King played his best game as a Wildcat with 20 points and 9 rebounds in his sixth man role. King showed great perseverance in this game. He missed all four of his 3-point attempts in the first half, yet remained confident in his lefty stroke and made all four of his shots from downtown in the second half. King had an embarrassing moment on a break-away when he was rejected by the rim and missed the dunk. However, he returned to the game aggressive, looking to make up for it, and he did.”

January 3, 2010 - My New Year’s prediction for King was slightly off...
“Game Thoughts: King had an average game (6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists), though he continues to impress with his rebounding ability.
New Year's Resolution: To stay patient on offense and let the guards create open shots. He is not as effective at creating his own shot off the dribble.
2010 Prediction: King will score 24 points against Duke in the NCAA Tournament, and two rounds earlier Villanova will beat Miami despite a heroic 37-point outburst from Malcolm Grant.”

January 7, 2010 - DePaul post-game interviews will never be the same now that Jerry Wainwright’s been fired. Here’s what he said about King, “he has range that might start back in Piscataway. He is insane.”

January 10, 2010 - I nominate this for scariest moment of his career.
“Taylor King layed on the floor in pain for several minutes after busting his head and shoulder.”

January 24, 2010 - I guess I’ll have to recast this show…
“Monday 10:00 PM
"Saved by the Bell: The College Years II (The New New Class)"
A reboot of the sequel to the hit series. Featuring Taylor King as California beach bum Zack Morris, Antonio Pena as muscle-bound A.C. Slater, Maurice Sutton as the wacky Screech Powers, and Ed Pinckney as the former sports star who returns to school as an R.A.”

February 9, 2010 - King proved he was more than just a soft outside shooter.
“It was like a game within a game watching Taylor King and ...pause for spell check... Deniz Kilicli battle in the post. King was ice cold shooting the ball (0-6), but he pulled down 8 rebounds and blocked 3 shots.”

February 22, 2010 - This is when the wheels on the Taylor King bandwagon started to fall off…
“Taylor King has failed to score in double figures for 10 straight games. His 3-point shot has been off, which may be the result of tired legs. The 6'6 King has been forced to play out of position at power forward against players much bigger and stronger, yet he has held his own on the boards (5.8 rpg).”

February 25, 2010 - If basketball doesn’t work out for King, I’ve got the Olympic sport for him…
“Taylor King - Snowboard Halfpipe
King is from Huntington Beach, California, so he probably knows how to surf, which will make for an easy transition to the snow. He just needs to grow his hair out to fit in with Shaun White.”

March 9, 2010 - The beginning of the end?
“Taylor King might be out for the rest of the season. That hurts, but luckily Nova has the depth to deal with it.”

March 11, 2010 - He sat out Nova’s Round 1 game in the BET, then…
“13:00 - Taylor King is in! I don't know why he was out, but I'm glad he's back. (Note: King would leave the game after two minutes and never return. So never mind that unfounded excitement.)”

March 18, 2010 - In King’s last hurrah, he helped Nova avoid a first round upset in the NCAA Tournament.
“With a fresh haircut, King rediscovered his lefty stroke to score 10 points off the bench, his first time reaching double digits since early January. However, he only played 15 minutes. Jay Wright made some odd choices with his rotation today. At least King seems to be past whatever personal issues he was battling, which is a good sign.”

King's final per-game stats for the season: 7.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.5 blocks, 0.7 steals, .421 FG%, .364 3P%, .738 FT%.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A New Letter From Dan Gilbert

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in a region 431 miles away from the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a brief, humble, unselfish build-up culminating with a national
tweet of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports, entertainment, and probably the history of the universe.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:


You can take it to the bank. (Then come to Quicken Loans to get the loan you will need to pay off your losses on that bet.)

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of another city’s very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels. As a matter of fact, I am on my way to Ace Hardware right now.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to-- Hold on folks, I’m getting a call from David Stern…

Wow, this is embarrassing. Apparently Mr. Lowry was a “restricted” free agent and had no control over the situation. Once Daryl Morey and the Rockets matched our $24 million offer, Kyle had no choice but to return to Houston. My apologies.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and slightly less darker day....

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU another angry letter in a silly font that you have long deserved and is long overdue....

Dan Gilbert

Majority Owner

Cleveland Cavaliers

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Open Letter to Randy Foye

You might remember a column Bill Simmons wrote before last year’s draft addressing Blake Griffin and his future with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Sports Guy outlined all of the horrible things that have happened to the Clippers franchise and its players. He summarized, “this went deeper than one person. This was karmic. This was creepy. This was like … they'd been hexed. Like they had built an arena on a sacred burial ground or something. And that's when I realized what happened. In a way, they did mess with a sacred burial ground. They messed with the Indians. And you don't mess with the Indians. Ever.”

The bad luck dates back to June 14, 1976, when Buffalo Braves owner Paul Synder decided to sell the team, and subsequently moved it to San Diego and later Los Angeles. With the cross country move, the franchise stripped itself of all affiliation with Native American heritage, and decided to rename the team the “Clippers”. That seems to be when the “curse” began. Simmons’ satirical column turned eerily prophetic when Blake Griffin suffered a stress fracture in his knee the day before the season started and missed his entire rookie year. I’m going to borrow the idea and write a letter to former Villanova Wildcat and new Los Angeles Clipper Randy Foye…

Dear Randy,

“Run. Just start running. Run for your life. Run like the star of a horror movie. Don't turn around. Run and keep running.”

You just signed a two year contract worth over $8 million with the Los Angeles Clippers. Congratulations, that’s a lot of money, but for the sake of your ACL’s maybe you should have considered somewhere else. You’re really pushing your luck, considering you already have a history of knee injury, missing half of the 2007-2008 season. Just take a look at some of the horrific injuries that have befallen the Clippers’ major draft/trade/free agent acquisitions over the years:

- 1977: A month after the Clippers traded for all star Tiny Archibald, he tore his Achilles and missed the entire season.
- 1979: Clippers signed free agent Bill Walton. He played 14 games for them in his first three years, and just 169 games through his six year contract with the team.
- 1980: Clippers drafted Michael Brooks ninth overall, and after three-plus seasons, he blew out his knee and never played another game for the Clippers.
- 1983: Clippers traded for Norm Nixon, who blew out his knee playing softball after three seasons, then thirteen months later he ruptured his Achilles tendon.
- 1983: Rookie of the Year Terry Cummings was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart arrhythmia.
- 1985: Rising star Derek Smith blew out his knee eleven games into the season and was never the same.
- 1986: Marques Johnson ruptured a disk in his neck after an accidental collision with his own teammate. It was a career-ending injury.
- 1988: #1 pick Danny Manning blew out his ACL after just 26 games with the Clippers.
- 1989: Ron Harper blew out his ACL 28 games after the Clippers traded for him.
- 1997: Leading scorer and rebounder Loy Vaught had season-ending back surgery.
- 2007: Elton Brand blew out his Achilles.
- 2007: Shaun Livingston suffered one of the most gruesome knee injuries ever caught on live TV.

Sure, you can compile bad luck and injury lists like this with just about every team in the NBA, but the difference is the Clippers haven’t had good luck in its history to counterbalance it. I’m sure you had other options, like the Nets, who will be playing in your hometown of Newark this season. Then again, you run the risk of getting banished to Siberia if Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov isn’t pleased with your play. You could have gone across the river to boost your stats in Mike D’Antoni’s system. Or how about “taking your talents to South Beach” and joining the new Triumvirate to chase a ring or ten. You’d have to take a major pay cut, but I’m sure you’d be paid the difference under the table like the rest of the team inevitably will. You even could have returned to your first team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. GM David Kahn apparently has some kind of unhealthy infatuation with point guards that rivals only Jay Wright, so I’m sure he’d welcome you back.

Curses aside, the Clippers are actually a great fit basketball-wise for you, Randy, and the weather isn’t too bad in LA either. The team has some young talent with Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, Ryan Gomes, and rookies Al-Farouq Aminu and Eric Bledsoe, plus veterans Baron Davis and Chris Kaman. You will likely be the first guard off the bench subbing in for Davis at the point or Gordon at the two.

“Again, I would start running right now. But if you choose to stay, I have an idea: Trek into the desert like Jim Morrison did in "The Doors," bring Gordon with you, drop some acid and try to connect with a Native American shaman. Or you could fly to Buffalo with Baron and Gordon, find some sacred ground and make some atonements. Maybe you could even bring a white buffalo with you. Just make sure you do something. This is bigger than you. And us.”

I don't really believe in curses, anyway. Or do I? No, I don't. But if there is a curse, let's hope you're the one to break it, or at least stay healthy for these next 2-3 years until you join a franchise that isn't cursed. Like the Cavs.

“Good luck breaking the Curse of the Sacred Buffalo.”

Bill Simmons Tim Barry

Thursday, July 8, 2010

NBA Free Agency Summit

It’s finally here… The Summer of 2010… NBA free agency. Teams have spent two years tanking and clearing salary cap space in hopes of signing them. That’s right, Randy Foye and Kyle Lowry are free agents for the first time in their young NBA careers, and they could be wearing new jerseys ( or new New Jersey jerseys) next year. What, you thought I was talking about someone else?

Randy Foye is coming off a tumultuous season with the Washington Wizards where he averaged 10.1 points and 3.3 assists per game (13 pts and 5 assists as a starter). There’s a good chance the former Wildcat will be playing for his third NBA team next fall, or fifth team if you count the draft-day trades in 2006. (Drafted 7th by Boston, rights traded to Portland, rights again traded to Minnesota for Brandon Roy, and last summer traded to Washington for Ricky Rubio). The Wizards still owe gunslinger Gilbert Arenas $80 million through 2014, and they just made a draft night trade to add point guard Kirk Hinrich. I’m sure they would love to shoot Arena’s contract off to another team, but if they are unable to, the Wizards are unlikely to match an offer made for Foye, who is a restricted free agent.

Dork Elvis, aka Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, apparently sees in Kyle Lowry what Nova fans saw in the two years the Broadstreet Bulldog roamed the courts up and down the Main Line. Morey’s recent tweet: “Rockets fans, please send a message to Luis (@LScola4) and Kyle (@Klow7) letting them know much we want them back!” Kyle excelled off the bench as Aaron Brooks’ back-up at the point, averaging 9.1 points and 4.5 assists, and I’m sure both sides would love to stay together. However, on a per 48 minute basis, Lowry averaged 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists. What if another team desperate for a point guard looked at those stats and offered Kyle a starting position? I think he’d have to take that opportunity.

So where could Kyle and Randy be heading if they leave their respective cities? Some teams with available cap space and vacancies at the point guard position are the New York Knicks and Miami Heat. The Indiana Pacers are looking for a new point guard, although they are already over the salary cap.

Scottie Reynolds is slated to play for the Phoenix Suns’ summer league team, but he isn’t guaranteed a spot on their big league roster next season. I hope things work out for him in the desert (Vegas, then Arizona) because there aren’t many better point guards to apprentice under than Steve Nash.

Tim Thomas could take a veterans’ minimum contract with a salary cap strapped team like the Miami Heat to chase a ring with Wade and Bosh (and LeBron?). If he doesn’t return to play for Mark Cuban in Dallas, Tim could be making his tenth team change in fourteen seasons, which has to be some kind of record. Personally, I’d like to see TT (that’s what I call him) join the Boston Celtics, just to see how Bill Simmons would react.

Malik Allen averaged 2 points and 2 rebounds in just under 9 minutes per game for the Denver Nuggets last season. At 32 years old, Allen can provide cheap veteran front court depth, something just about every team in the league can use.

As for Villanova's final representative in the NBA, Dante Cunningham is not a free agent and will be back in Portland for his second year. The Blazers liked what they saw from their second round draft pick and extended his contract through 2011.

Oh, yeah. Apparently there's another big free agent, although he did not attend Villanova. Some guy by the name of LeBron James. After tonight's primetime special, "The Decision", we'll finally know where the King will hold his court. As a Knicks fan, I'm hoping he comes to Madison Square Garden, erases the misfortunes of the Isiah Thomas era, and brings a title to New York. As a basketball fan, I would love to watch him team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, forming the most dynamic trio in NBA history and creating must-see TV for 82+ nights a year. (How much is NBA League Pass?) As an American sports fan, I want him to stay in Cleveland and prove that loyalty still exists in sports, and that hometown fans truly matter to these multi-millionaire superstars.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Scottie Reynolds... The Next Mike Bibby?

As the Celtics and Lakers continue to battle in the Finals, the NBA Draft is quickly approaching. Dozens of young collegiate and international basketball stars are travelling around the country, working out for coaches, scouts, and GMs, hoping to be the next Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Pau Gasol, or Kevin Garnett... heck even the next Adam Morrison. (Who wouldn't love to get paid $5,257,229 to cheer from the bench?) One such hopeful player is Villanova's own, Scottie Reynolds.

Most NBA draft experts project Scottie Reynolds to go in the second round or not at all. Scottie's draft stock was hurt by his uncharacteristically poor performance in this past year's NCAA Tournament: 4/26 FG (15%). He no doubt struggled in those last two games, but should that overshadow a first team All-American season? The hate seems to have gone too far for Scottie Reynolds' NBA prospects, and GMs should take notice because they won't want to be remembered as "the guy who passed on the next Mike Bibby".

Now you might be saying to yourself, "You're crazy! Mike Bibby wasthe second overall draft pick in 1998." Well, first of all, the Grizzlies (then in Vancouver) made a mistake drafting Bibby before Antwan Jamison, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, AND Paul Pierce. But at least it wasn't as bad the first overall pick that year by the Clippers (Michael Olowokandi). Now bear with me and take a closer look at these two players and you'll see just how similar Reynolds and Bibby actually are.

The Looks
They're about the same size (both listed as 6'2), and they're within five pounds of the same listed weight (Reynolds: 190 pounds and Bibby: 195 pounds). Neither is super quick or athletic, but they instead rely on craftiness, outside shooting, and high basketball IQ.

The Stats
Bibby (2 years): 15.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 45.6 FG%, 39 3P%, 73 FT%
Reynolds (4 years): 16 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 41.4 FG%, 37.2 3P%, 81.4 FT%

In his senior year, Scottie shot an almost identical 45.7% from the field and 38.5% from three. He also bumped his scoring up to 18.2 points per game. Albeit, at that age, Bibby was averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 assists per game in his second year in the NBA, but still, the stats are strikingly similar. Bibby's career NBA stats are: 15.8 points, 5.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 43.8 FG%, 37.5 3P%, 80.6 FT%... Not inconceivable for Reynolds. Also keep in mind, that despite all his success, Bibby has never made an All-star team.

The Wins
Both were McDonald's All-Americans in high school. Both were First Team AP All-Americans in college. Both of their college teams were sucessful. Bibby led Arizona to a National Championship with 20 points as a freshman in 1997. Sure, Reynolds' most recent NCAA Tournament was disappointing, but how can anyone forget his magical buzzer-beater in 2009 that sent Villanova to the Final Four.

The Rest
So far there's no indication that Scottie Reynolds can't mimic Mike Bibby's career, in which he has earned $100,176,673 and counting. The biggest lingering question about Reynolds' game is whether he can run an NBA team at the point guard position. Reynolds was never a huge assist guy in college, but that has more to do with Villanova's system and personnel. I don't see Reynolds ever routinely putting up double digit assists like Rajon Rondo, but I can absolutely see him being like Rondo's opposing point guard in the Finals, Derek Fisher. Like Bibby, Fisher has a very similar body and game to Reynolds (6'1, 200 lbs.). Fisher has never averaged more than five assists per game over his career, yet he has been the point guard on four championship teams. If you think I'm aiming too high with Bibby, then why can't Scottie Reynolds be the next Derek Fisher?

As Scottie Reynolds is watching the rest of the Finals, instead of dreaming of being the next Kobe Bryant, Rajon Rondo, or even Derek Fisher, maybe he should aim to be the next Glen Davis. I'm not suggesting he gain 100 pounds, but Scottie can learn a thing or two from Big Baby. Like Reynolds, Davis was a college star who led his team to a Final Four, yet saw his draft stock drop after a disappointing following year. He got drafted in the second round, but he didn't let that keep him down. Davis continued to work hard and improve his game, and now he is a game away from winning his second ring. So wake up NBA GMs, you don't want to miss this year's big sleeper... Scottie Reynolds.

The 2010 NBA Draft is June 24 at 7 p.m.